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Junior High Schools in New York City (1961)

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An overview of all subjects and extracurricular activities which are available in the junior high schools of New York City.

This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Production Company: New York City Board of Education
Audio/Visual: sound, color

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

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Average Rating: 2.86 out of 5 stars2.86 out of 5 stars2.86 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: ERD - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - September 11, 2005
Subject: The good old days.
This film was made by the 1961 New York City Board of Education for viewing by the parents of its junior high school students. While stilted and idealistic, it shows the goals of intermediate education during the "Father Knows Best" era.

Reviewer: Christine Hennig - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - May 15, 2005
Subject: Now Who Can Tell Us About the Movie We Just Saw? Karma Hawk? Spuzz?...Raise Your Hand and Speak in Complete Sentences
This early 60s film tries to explain the whole concept of junior high schools to parents who didnÂt go to them, and thus donÂt think theyÂre necessary. It does it in as stilted and controlled fashion as possible, with everything carefully scripted and acted out by people who couldnÂt act their way out of a paper bag. This gives the film a geeky quality which is rather appealing after a bit. It is sure to bring back lots of memories, not all of them pleasant, in folks who attended junior high during the 50s and early 60s. Gender roles aplenty appear, including boys lining up in the front of the classroom while girls line up at the side; boys learning woodworking and electrical tinkering in shop class, while girls learn cooking, table manners, and dressmaking in Home Ec; and girls doing folk dancing in P.E., while the boys play sports. It was somewhat ahead of its time, though, in the portrayal of multi-racial classrooms and an African-American art teacher teaching white students. If itÂs school footage you want, this film has it. Now close your notebooks and prepare to pass to the next film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Reviewer: Karma Hawk - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - March 27, 2005
Subject: School sure was diferent 40 some years ago
This film starts out with Parents presumably at a Jr High Orientation asking various questions some good ("what do groups do what benefits do programs like Student Counsils provide") to some...well not so good ("Do you let be lazy or do they really have to study") after the montage of questions (a majority of which are left unanswered.) a principal awkwardly introduces the film, we then see the circulum of Jr. High Studends played out, from home room to English to music ("all highscool students are required to take at least one music program") to Health Ed it's all here and each course overview is narated by the coresponding teacher. The problem here is some of the teachers are just so dull (the Social Studies one sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher if she learned english)Never the less thier is some good stuff here from blatent sexism (in a line the boys are instructed to lead while the girls are expected to follow) to bad attempts at being P.C (The math course has a class for "Slow" children) Not the best movie available here, but it is intresting to see the difrences between schools then and now.

Reviewer: Spuzz - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - March 18, 2005
Subject: Thank you.. for your questions!!
A classic of the highest order, JHSINYC presents the geekiest looking students, the deers in headlights teachers, and very shaky camera work to good effect here! At first we see very odd looking 'parents' asking questions, (Check out the lady asking "Why doesn't Arnold read when he comes home from school?" Then, in a TOTAL Amelie moment, Dr. Larentan comes on totally awkwardly and says "Thank you for your questions" while looking bizarrely off to the side. He dictates his speech so strangely, looks at the camera only once or twice, but mostly sticks to his looking off to the side approach (for a better protograph position?). Soon, we're oof to explore the many subjects your kids can learn! Native dancing for the girls! Shop for the boys! (love the 'metal fastening' scene) and typing (??) for everyone!! Clearly done without a clue, this is a MUST SEE on this site!!

Reviewer: Marysz - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 9, 2004
Subject: Back to Homeroom
An endearingly amateurish film made to explain to parents what their kids will be doing in Junior High. The film was shot at two junior high schools, one in Manhattan, the other in the Bronx. The racially diverse children are nicely dressed and well-behaved. No ÃÂBlackboard JungleÃÂ here. The children cycle through the day as the teachers run through part of a lesson for the camera. An off-screen narrator tells us that the children are sorted into three groups: ÃÂgifted, normal and slow.ÃÂ Educators then had a no-nonsense pragmatism when it came to what they saw as childrenÃÂs innate abilities. Something tells me that with the exception of the boy making bookends in shop, weÃÂre seeing mostly the gifted group in this film. Still, it seems like a solid curriculum for all the children: Math, Social Studies, Geography, English, Art and Music. The schools even have their own symphony orchestras. And for the ÃÂslowÃÂ students, thereÃÂs always home economics for the girls and shop for the boys. Whatever shortcomings these schools may have had, they pale in comparison to the problems urban public schools face now.

Reviewer: Cherokee Jack - 1.00 out of 5 stars - August 4, 2004
Subject: Buffet of Bad
Awful. Wooden delivery of dialogue by everyone, the teachers look scared and out of their element (with good reason!). Cinematography leaves much to be desired--the zooms and pans are often jerky and usually pointless. Notice how the camera pans up towards the ceiling on many shots and then back down. I guess they couldn't decide on how to frame and block the scenes. Funny comment at the end by Joseph Loretan, director of the "Planning Committee" for this film: "Help us to...improve the junior high schools. They are good." There you have it: junior high good, FILM BAD!

Reviewer: dynayellow - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - July 20, 2004
Subject: As thrilling as you remember Junior High being
Dimly-lit and stiffly acted look at what these new-fangled Junior High Schools are all about. Using real teachers and students, we're lead through heavily-scripted examples of each of the classes (social studies, science, Spanish).

Very tedious, though there is a funny bit at the beginning where concerned adults ask questions about the Junior High ("Do you let them be lazy?")